Hayes Creek Fire Rescue is a small, uncertified fire hall serving the Osprey, Chain, Link lakes area of approximately 350 households, most of which are seasonal.
They have a pumper truck, a pumper 2000 gallon tanker, a medical first responder truck and 20 volunteers.
Resident Don Moyes, retired Vancouver battalion chief, started the medical portion of the department to serve Hayes Creek members at fire calls in case of injury and collapse. The department quickly expanded to serve all residents in the fire district and now has six oxygen therapy units, two heart defibrillators, three aid trauma kits and a rescue boggan on tires and skis to access victims in remote and back country areas.
The medical first responders are trained to responder level one and are recertified with a two day course every three years.
If a party calls 911 in Hayes Creek district for an ambulance, Kelowna dispatch sends out an ambulance and Hayes Creek first responder unit to the address at the same time.
Depending on travel distance, one of our members is on scene with patient in 3 to 12 minutes and an ambulance from Princeton or Summerland is on scene between 45 minutes to one hour.
The emergency could be an MVA, heart attack, stroke, shortness of breath, collapse, trauma, fractures, etc.
First responder protocol and forms are standard province wide and involve the questions, “am I safe? are there hazards like live wires? assault? crime scene? self harm? suicide? preservation of evidence?” These are quickly done by first responders in scene assessment then the responders move on to introduction and asking permission to treat the patient(s)
When permission is granted, one first responder provides appropriate treatment while a second records all patient data on a form to be passed on to ambulance crew and to stay with patient in primary medical care. Patient data forms include name, address, medical card number, chief complaint, method of injury, medical history, patient medications, and vital signs…(oxygen percentage in blood, pulse, respiration, blood pressure, pain level, other injuries found etc.
Patient vitals are taken and recorded every 10 minutes and when the higher trained ambulance crew arrives, they can see at a glance all the relevant information and see if the patient is going downhill or improving while the patient/first responder exchange protocol is being done
The ambulance crew carries on with a higher level of patient care and first responders assist with spine board, chair cot, bed cot or whatever the ambulance crew asks of them and then they assist with loading patient and caring for personal affects.
The average time from 911 call to patient reaching the nearest hospital in Penticton is about 4.5 hours with a stop in Princeton to stabilize patient and a 120 kilometer trip from there to Penticton.
So much for the “magic hour” of time from 911 call to meaningful medical intervention at a functioning ER, OR and diagnostics. First responder provides primary medical care in just minutes and is a life saver in many heart attack, stroke or extreme trauma situations.
First medical response is now provided in the Osprey Lake area by trained folks who, like you reading this article, felt abandoned by their provincial government with the closing of Princeton Hospital ER. Feeling the need to do what they could for themselves….going beyond their previous experiences, jobs and comfort levels they got the necessary training and are now the “pointy end” of primary medical care in their community. There is satisfaction and pride in getting the job done and giving back to their community.
There are senior folks in this community who had their homes for sale—this first responder service has given them some sense of comfort and knowledge that positive help is close at hand and the “magic hour” is again in place.